The Recession is a boon for our families! We are able to offer the cream of the crop right now. Many nannies are eager to take on positions that they may have previously declined because the position was part time, or involved housework or was temporary.
Many of our nannies have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced. There are fewer positions, more available nannies, and the result is that qualifications for candidates have greatly increased! One of the last nannies we placed had her Master’s degree in education, taught two years, and nannied for four years! So now is the time to call to secure a trusted, dedicated nanny or home manager who can bring calm to your busy household. You can come home at day’s end to enjoy your family, knowing that the biggest challenges of the day have been covered, and that your children have been nurtured and loved.
Many families have found that they do need to cut their nanny’s hours, work from home part time, share a nanny with another family, or cut another staff member and ask their nanny to take on additional duties, but we have been surprised at how many families are still using nannies! I interviewed a dedicated nanny this morning, who wants to play with children, clean house, cook gourmet meals, and teach your children three languages!
Beth Weise, CEO and Founder, Caring Nannies

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How can we resist the consumerism that encroaches on our children during the holidays and even turn it around to help them learn the true meaning of Christmas? New research shows that helping others is a major key to happiness, and when we are helping or giving to someone it helps us to feel satisfied, more self-assured and uplifted. We actually benefit more than the person we are helping. The best way to develop character in children is to get them involved in helping others less fortunate. This holiday season provides the perfect venue for instilling a focus on others, developing family team-building, and letting them experience firsthand that they can bring joy to others. The key is to plan and start early. Old toys can be sorted through and taken to a shelter before the holidays rather than after. Children can work to use their own money to buy gifts at the dollar store for teachers or siblings. Angel trees can be found in malls and the pre-requested gifts go to the children of prisoners who would be unable to provide for their families. When my children were young, we filled shoeboxes for children in developing nations with essential items like toothbrushes, pencils, soap and small toys. Our staff family is helping with a Christmas Fiesta at Neighborhood Ministries, a holistic Christian outreach to low-income families and at-risk children in the Phoenix inner-city. Parent volunteers come to the two acre campus to work for parent volunteer hours, which earn them “parent bucks”, to redeem at the Christmas Parent Store. We will be helping to set up the store on December 5th.

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Everyone is back in school and the world runs at a more predictable pace with set routines and children in uniforms. Our entire staff is also back at school this semester, at SCC, on-line, as well as MCC, sharpening our computer and communication skills. Much of our weekends are spent laboring over our laptops. We also want to encourage you to send your nanny to school if she hasn’t already. Our valuable Nanny Boot Camp began in June of this year, and we have continued to receive encouraging feedback from nannies as well as families.
It’s also homework time for many of you also in the evenings, and research shows that when parents become involved in their children’s schoolwork, the children do better in school, as well as benefiting their self-esteem. When my children were young, we always used “Grandmas Rule”. It was reputed that Grandma said that there is no dessert until you are finished with your spinach, and hold off on watching TV and other fun activities until homework is completed. A helpful website to help parents motivate children with homework can be found at http://www.kidsource.com/schwab/ten.homework.tips.schwab.html.
When children start school, it can create a quandary for the family’s childcare arrangements. You only need a nanny for the few hours in the morning and when the children are home in the afternoon. With our service, we require that the nanny have a four hour minimum each time she comes, due to her travel time and gas expenses. Obviously, you don’t want to pay for childcare while children are at school. Some families will switch to an after-school nanny who comes in from 2pm to 6pm, and their nanny will move on to a younger set. Some nannies find they are so bonded to the children they don’t wish to leave; however, they can’t afford to only work part time. This may be the time when families consider changing their job description to Nanny/Home Manager. The variety and creativity of this new assignment may appeal to the nanny, and give her an opportunity to expand skills of multitasking and organizing.
A Nanny/Home Manager can do the marketing, keeping the household supplies fully stocked, plan and prepare dinners, pick up birthday gifts provide pet care, complete family laundry, run to the dry cleaners or Post Office, change the oil, manage the family calendar, organize after school activities, research summer camps, make travel arrangements, and provide extra supervision and security if a child has a sick day or early release. This Family Assistant provides additional value by giving you that indispensable time after work so that you are free to spend time with the most significant people in your life, as well as giving you that cherished time to recharge. Some nannies may be interested in providing full housekeeping as well during the time the children are in school, if that is an option you are seeking. Many families find a solution in letting their cleaning service go, and using a Nanny/Housekeeper to meet the total needs of the family.
This plan may not be in the budget for every family, but we at Caring Nannies want to undergird you and your family during these challenging years with all the tools and resources you and your family need. We are just a phone call away. Let us know how we can help!

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Old-Fashioned Family Games for Summer

Remember the fun games you played in summer growing up? Try some family games this summer?
There is Ante Over, where one team is stationed in the front yard, and half in the back, and you shout “Ante Over” to warn the other team to be on the lookout for the ball. They try to catch it. If the ball is not caught, any member of the team may pick it up and throw it back, calling “Ante Over!” as the throw is made. If the ball is caught, the person making the catch runs around to the other side and tries to hit some player of the other team with the ball. If a player is hit he joins the other team, till one team has all the players.
How about freeze tag, red rover, hide and seek? Or a family game of Marco Polo? When I was young, my siblings and I built tents in the family room with sheets and played Monopoly that lasted two days. Mom let us eat lunch in the tent.
When Erika, Jamie and Jeremy were small, we loved to play “Murder in the Dark”. It is like hide n’ seek, but everyone hides inside the house with all the lights out. My favorite hiding place was on the top of the refrigerator!

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After months of preparation, the staff at Caring Nannies has launched Nanny Boot Camp, a four hour training session designed to give nannies the tools they need to find the right job, truly enhance a child’s life, help a family function smoothly, and stay long term. For the past five months, we have been interviewing experts in the field, studying textbooks, researching the internet, and listening to our nannies and clients, evaluating our own progress in the art of making expert matches. We are very excited about the potential of this additional step in the screening process you deserve. One of the biggest benefits is that we really get to know these wonderful ladies on a deeper level. As thorough as it is, an interview cannot provide that depth. The nanny career is unlike any other childcare career, in that there is unprecedented opportunity for professional and personal growth.
It is also different in that the nanny is in an intimate relationship, a part of the family, in a way that no one else is. Our clients feel that their home is their castle, and the nanny is privy into the family. The position demands clear communication of what is expected, comprehensive discussions from the start, and written guidelines to give the relationship a framework.
We were made for relationships, yet communication is the most difficult part of those relationships. It takes courage to care more for the relationship than we care about protecting our image. It is important to be willing to share how we are feeling when something is bothering us. Otherwise, we can become disgruntled and resentful, the relationship is damaged, and we experience burnout. We explore in class how we can use our positions as nannies as a springboard to develop personally in many important areas so that the nanny benefits as much as the children and family. This augments our mission of treasuring children and strengthening families by developing the professionalism and longevity of our nannies. Press release.

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My brother Mark, a prominent gastroenterologist at Desert Sam, and his wife Kris, were getting close to retirement, had all four of their boys well raised, when Gretchen and Tommy came into their lives. Their three and four year old niece and nephew needed rescuing. Mark and Kris thought it would just be temporary at first, to get their shipwrecked lives stabilized and find them appropriate adoptive parents, possibly within their extended family. As it turned out, Mark and Kris were the best ones to be the parents for Tommy and Gretchen, and the adoption was finalized last fall in a heart-warming ceremony with all 13 of their children, grandchildren, their spouses, and great-grandma present. I spent last week with them on vacation in their Flagstaff cabin to celebrate our Mom’s birthday. I watched my 63 year old brother wrestle with seven year old Tommy, and waltz with eight year old Gretchen. During the day, they got to practice driving their kid-sized quad in figure eights carefully marked out by orange cones. “The most important thing to learn is how to stop.” Tommy loved putting on his new garden gloves to help Mark with chores. Mark is the only doctor I know who does all his own yard work. Now he has a cabin, so he can do all the upkeep on two houses. He loves to work—spray-painting the shake roof, clearing boulders, planting red fescue, planting maple trees, then fencing out the elk, building his own sprinkler system and drip lines. His next project is building a playground. Kris and I were reflecting on how different the world would be two generations from now if they hadn’t stepped in. Their self-giving, sacrificial love has made a huge impact on everyone who knows them.
This Father’s Day, I am grateful for Mark’s generous heart. Where did all that love come from? My Dad just passed away last August after 64 years of marriage to the love of his life, my Mom. They had six children in 7 1/2 years and raised us to believe that we were here for the purpose of serving others.
If you have a Dad that you admire, please blog in during the month of June, log in and share your reflections with us.

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Erika came literally within two inches of leaving this world on Monday morning on her way to the bank to sign papers on a car she was selling. How differently our lives would have been today! How little we consider the reality of life. How we take for granted the really important things—it’s always relationships. If she had been in a car without such amazing anti-lock brakes, we would have been preparing for her funeral today. I would never get to enjoy her children. We usually do not get these reflections until we are at a funeral. It is often at funerals that members of our family see new life spring up in our hearts. Today, I am very grateful for my amazing daughter, that she was spared for one more day. Today, I want to purpose to appreciate and enjoy her even more than I did yesterday.

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Last night I called a friend for advice. One of my adult kids had made a remark about their growing up years that left me feeling like I had been a less than perfect mother, and my feelings were hurt. Believe me, I was, and am and always will be a ‘less than perfect mother’.
“How did that make you feel when s/he said that?” my friend asked. She listened, asked more questions. “What lies am I believing”? I asked her. She didn’t try to solve my problem. She was just curious. I began to realize that I needed to go back to that child and ask more questions. I now had the courage and comfort to do it. And I could do it matter- of- factly, rather than with a “poochy lip”.
I count among my closest friends those who are good listeners. When I talk to them, they give me their full attention and think deeply about my problem. They listen not only to what I am saying, but to the feelings I am experiencing. They ask questions, respond with empathy, recap. They respond to what I am feeling, their soothing words resonating emphatically. They imagine what it’s like for me. I feel heard, understood and valued. There is healing in that. Dr Savage tells us that “life is a meat grinder, an Arab funeral with all the tears”. So we all need someone who we can pour out our feelings to without fear of being rejected or judged. By the time you open your heart to them, you already know what to do. Effective listeners help us come up with our own answers because they accept us and free us to listen to our own hearts and heads. The goal is not to solve our problems, yet it brings about change in us and our basic values. When we are listened to sensitively, we become more emotionally mature, less authoritarian and less defensive. We listen to ourselves more carefully to see what we are actually thinking and feeling. Listening builds deep, positive relationships and growth, even in the listener.
In our Caring Nannies office, we sometimes see relationships fail, and very often it is because of a failure in communication. A resentment will build up, nothing is mentioned, then, tempers can flare, burnout increases. We may say that we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, but we are hurting the relationship. We feel awkward or uncomfortable discussing what is on our mind. Those things that really bother us that we are reluctant to discuss are usually the things that really need to be communicated for the sake of the relationship. Our most basic need in life is for relationships, and relationships are the source of the most enjoyment in our lives as well as the source of the most pain and frustration. However, to speak from love, anyone wishing to encourage must be willing to endure what they fear—the loss of relationship with others.
I was deeply impacted by how quickly I felt empowered by my short phone call last Sunday night, so I did some research on listening. I feel determined to make this a part of my life, because I want to encourage those around me. It is difficult, because I am basically selfish and really only want to talk about me. It takes courage to get past my own fear and reach out to the fear in another. We have also highlighted this in our Nanny Boot Camps.
The end result of effective listening is encouragement—hope that solutions exist for every problem and that life does make sense. Hope stirs people to greater love and more good deeds and perseverance. Encouragement is not a technique to be mastered; it is a sensitivity to people and awareness of their value.
Listening behavior is contagious. As we know, anger is met with anger, argument with argument, smile with smile. My experience with my friend makes me want to learn to be an encourager, with adults as well as the children in my life.
And what was the lie I was believing? Probably that in order to be valuable, I need to be a perfect Mom. Could LOVE be spelled TIME? I think so. The very act of listening well communicates that I am valuable, so I will say no to the lie, and accept the value my friend placed on me.

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